Richmond Maids of Honour

Rumour has it that these delectable little curd cheese tarts were named after the maids of honour who served at Richmond Palace in the 16th century. True or not, they taste wonderful made with crisp puff pastry and a filling of squidgy cheese and lemon curd.

Makes 18

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course, Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course, Delia Smith's Book of Cakes and Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Richmond Maids of Honour
 ½ x 500 g pack fresh puff pastry
 flour for dusting
 8 oz (225 g) curd cheese
 1½ oz (40 g) whole candied lemon peel, finely chopped
 1½ oz (40 g) golden caster sugar
 grated zest 1 lemon
 1 oz (25 g) ground almonds
 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
 about 2 tablespoons good-quality lemon curd
 icing sugar for dusting
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).
You will also need a 3¼ inch (8 cm) plain cutter and two 12-hole shallow bun trays.


Begin by cutting the block of pastry in half so that you have two squares, and then sprinkle a surface with flour and roll each piece into a square of about 11 inches (28 cm).

Then, using the cutter, cut out 9 circles from each piece. Be careful as you do this – just give the cutter a sharp tap and lift it, don't be tempted to twist it. Now line the tins with the pastry rounds; you should have 18 altogether.

Then, in a bowl, combine the curd cheese, sugar, lemon zest, ground almonds and chopped candied peel, then beat the egg and egg yolk together in a separate bowl and add this to the rest of the ingredients. Mix very thoroughly with a large fork until everything is very evenly blended.

Next, spoon half a teaspoon of lemon curd into the base of each pastry case – don't be tempted to add more as it will bubble over during the cooking – then spoon a dessertspoon of the curd cheese mixture on top of this.

Then, when all the mixture has been added, bake the tarts in two batches on the centre shelf of the oven for about 20-25 minutes, by which time the mixture will have puffed right up and turned a lovely golden brown colour.

Now take them out of the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Don't worry if you see them start to sink a little, that's absolutely normal.

If you like, you can give them a faint dusting of icing sugar before you serve them.

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